Some findings from my survey about artists and the recession

How are you coping in this recession? Are you buying into the negativity? Or are you determined to come out on top?

About a month ago, over 1000 artists helped me with a survey to try to understand how they are coping in this economy. I now see why survey professionals get paid the big bucks. I noticed all kinds of flaws in my survey as I began gathering responses. And I’m certain that a professional will see even more. Still, I want to share with you what I found out.

Image ©Dora Ficher, Tulips

31.5% have been promoting their art for more than 10 years
61.6% are painters, while just 2.4% use metal in nonfunctional sculptures

The average annual gross income from all art-related activities for 29.5% of those surveyed was between $1000 and $5000
Only 10.3% made more than $40,000 from their art career, while 1.8% (20 people) made more than $100,000.

For 26.9%, art sales are a sole source of income
29.7% have an additional full-time job, while 36% have part-time employment outside of art

In the past 6-12 months, 50.3% are selling less art in general, while 11.8% are selling more art and 24.3% have seen steady sales. That’s 36% who are doing the same as or better than before the recession.

In the past 3-6 months, 37.4% are entering more exhibits, 41.8% are increasing use of email and newsletters, 62.4% are doing more in-person networking, and 58.9% are using more social media.
I was actually shocked that 34.8% don’t do any kind of regular mail. This could be a big mistake.
And 42% still don’t have a blog.

66.8% are considering looking for another source of income

The BIG NEWS is that artists are looking on the sunny side of life!
I guess that isn’t so surprising, but here’s what you told me:

74.8% are reading positive, affirming books and articles
60.9% don’t get caught up in the negativity
68.8% try to turn off negative news or negative people
76.6% haven’t changed their art style or subject matter
74.6% have the same level of self-confidence
68.9% are working harder than ever

And . . . (drumroll) . . .
88.5% are determined to come out on top, while 90.5% wouldn’t consider giving up their art careers

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14 thoughts on “Some findings from my survey about artists and the recession”

  1. Your post came at a perfect time! I just happened to come across it today, while searching for ways to work on my business as an artist. I needed some motivation. Thank you!

  2. My only question(s) is who are the top 12-13 percent and what are they doing differently than the rest?

    Happy Easter!
    Thanks for your Mission!


  3. Thank you for posting the survey results. I participated and it is interesting read the results. Very inspiring to see 90.5% not giving up. Me too!

  4. Excellent, that is good news! So interesting to see how the numbers turned out, we are a determined bunch!

  5. I cannot imagine how long it must have taken you to total the results, Alyson. Thank you for the work you put in for us.

    It would be interesting to survey WHERE the artists are and where they show and sell who are doing well. You know, does location have anything to do with it.

  6. Alyson, Thank you for compiling these amazing numbers. What a lot of work this was for you!

    I’m hoping to be your 21st person in your 1.8% this year or next.

    For those who are trying to make more $, you need to figure out where you fit in with the market. For example, are you trying to sell a lot of work at lower prices in markets that can move mass or are you holding on for the higher prices sales? Knowing which business strategy you want to take is key because it gives you a focus.

  7. Thank You ! I am going to use these stats for some upcoming non profit informal meetings within our community. Guess it is not unusual then for my continuing with the Artist’s Way and daily painting to think of my cancelled class in community education watercolor as the norm in these economic times. Suzi

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